on the performance…
Games like this against good opposition present different challenges. The things that the players had to deal with here will hopefully be important for their learning because they are more physical challenges to what they might normally meet. They have to learn how to compete in the air and win second balls.

It was good and I was pleased with them. They showed a good attitude to the game and both teams, although it was goalless, probably had three or four decent chances. Our best one probably came in the first half when Jernade set Serge up with a header, which he probably should have done better with.

We used 18 players during the game so it has given me a look at them all together with the usual pre-season fitness work.

on securing a clean sheet...
It is pleasing because we always like to keep clean sheets and defend well to keep the opposition out. Stevenage are a good club who are moving in the right direction, so for our boys to come here and experience life against a team who got to the League One play-offs last year is positive. It was a good result.

on being thrown into physical tests…
Football throws up a mixture of things and you never know what you are going to get. These players are learning their trade at the moment, and although they might not know where that may be yet, they all want it to be in Arsenal's first team. If it isn't, they want it to be in somebody else's first team and they have to be equipped to deal with whatever the game throws at them. So I think it is important that they have an all-round education about the game and the types of thing they have to deal with.

on a youthful second-half defence…
They coped well. Again they faced different problems but I thought they defended well, competed well and read situations properly. They all used the ball simply. It is a shame we couldn't quite get around them enough to create opportunities, although on occasions we did and almost got ourselves a goal.

on Serge Gnabry

It was good for him to play his first competitive football in a while and he came through it OK. It was my first look at him really in terms of a playing perspective. I think he has some really good qualities. He has that turn of pace and bit of explosiveness which can win you a game. I am sure once he gets his fitness that he will do very well for us.

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30 Jul 2012